Scrapie situation in Iceland and recent findings
BMC Seminar Thursday 27th of October at 12:00 in Læknagarður, room 343
Speaker: Dr. Stefanía Þorgeirsdóttir, Institute for Experimental Pathology, University of Iceland, Keldur
Title: Scrapie situation in Iceland and recent findings
Abstract: Scrapie has been endemic in Iceland for a long time, causing problems for sheep farmers. The number of scrapie cases has drastically decreased since the height of the epidemic in the 1980s, but there are still a few cases detected each year, mostly in the North. Culling whole scrapie flocks has been the main approach to fight this disease in Iceland, with additional means of cleaning of sheep pens and a sheep free period. Breeding for scrapie resistance in Iceland has not been a real option, since ARR, the main protective allele combination, has in the past not been found in the Icelandic sheep breed. Recently a research project was established to search for potential scrapie protective prion protein variants in a large group of Icelandic sheep originating from different regions of the country, with a specific attention to areas which had not been affected by large scale culling of sheep as part of an eradication program against various imported infectious diseases in the past. Sheep carrying the protective allele (ARR) were found at one farm, and a potentially protective polymorphism (T137) was detected in sheep on eight farms. This finding offers the possibility of breeding for scrapie resistance in the Icelandic sheep breed.
Short bio: B.Sc. in Biology from University of Iceland in 1987; PhD in Microbiology from Boston University in 1995. Worked on scrapie research and diagnostics at Keldur since 1996.